According to reports from Iranian human rights groups, the condition of political prisoners who are on hunger strike in Iran’s prisons is horrific. Faced with the violation of their rights, Iran’s political prisoners go on hunger strike as the only alternative to fighting for their rights.
Labor activist couple protest unfair detention
In Evin Prison, hunger striking political prisoner Amir Hossein Mohammadi Fard was attacked and beaten by non-political prisoners after 12 days of hunger strike while suffering from severe weakness. After being beaten, he was sent to another prison section as punishment.
On July 2, Mohammadi Fard wrote a letter to the head of the 28th Branch of the Tehran Revolutionary Court asking that his wife, political prisoner Sanaz Allahyari’s health be seen to. He said that if he and his wife and other detainees, who had supported the Haft Tapeh Sugarcane factory workers’ strike, were not released in two days, he would go on a hunger strike.
Two days later, he went on a hunger strike along with his wife.
Mohammadi Fard and his wife are members of the editorial board of an online magazine called GAM which reports on social justice including on the situation of Iranian workers. The couple have been imprisoned for about six months since January 2019.
Sanaz Allahyari, currently in the women’s section in Evin Prison, lost consciences for a few minutes due to severe weakness on her 12th day of hunger strike. Yesterday, Evin Prison’s medical clinic said that Allahyari’s vital signs were very faint and that if she continued her hunger strike, she would suffer severe respiratory complications.
In addition to her hunger strike, she is also suffering from an unknown illness. Reports indicate that due to her illness, Allahyari has been suffering from recurrent stomach pains, weight loss and severe shaking in her hands and legs for more than two months.
Political prisoner Soheil Arabi taken to hospital after seizure
In the notorious Fashafuyeh Prison near Tehran, political prisoner Soheil Arabi suffered a seizure and a severe drop in blood pressure. He has been on hunger strike for the past 30 days and has lost 10 kg. Reports indicate that he was taken to a hospital where he received treatment and was returned to prison a day after.
The blogger was arrested at his Tehran home in November 2013 by the Sarallah headquarters, an internal security group that shares affiliation with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
This is Soheil Arabi’s third round of hunger strike in protest to poor prison conditions, violent mistreatment of prisoners by prison guards and officials, and various deprivations in prison.
Arabi was initially sentenced to death for his blogs. His death sentence was commuted to 7.5 years in prison in 2015. In October 2018, he was sentenced to another 3 years in prison and exile to Borazjan, in southern Iran.
Six prisoners go on hunger strike in Evin Prison
Reports indicate that six prisoners in Evin Prison have announced that they had started a hunger strike in protest to the violation of their rights.
The political prisoners, detained in Section 4 in Evin, issued a statement from prison and said that they would continue their hunger strike until their demands were met.
In the statement, Hossein Sarlack, Morteza Nazari Sadhi, Mohsen Aminpour, Reza Bazazadeh, Behrouz Zare and Reza Mohammad Hosseini announced the following demands:
- The separation of political prisoners from other prisoners
- The conditional release of all political prisoners
- The recognition of political prisoners as “political” prisoners and not “security” prisoners by the regime
- The right to a lawyer in all legal proceedings
Political prisoners kept alongside dangerous criminals
According to Iran’s prison laws, prisoners should be separated according to their crimes, a law that is not implemented by the Iranian regime as a way of putting more pressure on political prisoners.
Political prisoners are kept alongside dangerous criminals and are regularly beaten and threatened, most times, on orders of prison authorities, by nonpolitical prisoners.
Most recently, a female civil rights activist was beaten by a non-political inmate who has the support of an official in Qarchak prison near Tehran. Reports indicate that civil rights activist Yasaman Ariaie was attacked by a prisoner detained for a violent crime on Sunday and was injured in the shoulder blade.
On July 6, labor rights activists Neda Naji and Atefeh Rangriz were beaten by inmates and prison guards and sustained serious injuries.
In June, detained internet activist Alireza Shir Mohammad Ali was stabbed to death by two prisoners at Fashafuyeh Prison.
The 21 year old political prisoner was sentenced to eight years of prison on charges of “blasphemy”, “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic”, “insulting the leader” and “spreading propaganda” against the regime.